20 Grilled Appetizer Recipes That Turn Any Gathering Into a Party
Preparing appetizers on the grill helps keep the party outside and simplifies cleanup.
One of the many reasons we love grilling is because it gives us the chance to cook and eat outside. You can take this outdoor frame of mind one step further by ditching cooking kitchen altogether for your next gathering. Sometimes we like to begin a cookout with make-ahead appetizers, like a dip or a decadent cheese board, but we also think there's something special about grilling the starters. Try our Grilled Zucchini with Miso or Bloody-Mary Tomato Salad, which is pictured here.
As it turns out, there are so many different appetizers that lend themselves to grilling. Skewers are an obvious option, and we're not just talking about meat or chicken; you can also use skewers to corral smaller foods that might slip between the grates, like fava beans, grilled peas with coconut, or meat-and-vegetable combos such as padron peppers and chorizo. A shrimp appetizer is always a crowd pleaser, but a grilled shrimp appetizer is even better. Our shrimp skewers get an infusion of Thai-inspired flavor thanks to a marinade and dipping sauce made with chili paste and fish sauce.
Grilling elevates the simplest foods: Sure, you could toast the bread for bruschetta, but this dish tastes (and looks) so much better after a pass on the grill. The same is true for corn, sausage, and oysters. What doesn't benefit from the smoke and char of the grill? Even foods you might not think to grill are incredible once cooked over your grates. Case in point? Grilling cheese; it's not a grilled cheese sandwich, but rather a whole wheel of cheese that's prepared over the flames. Let's just say it beats baked brie any day.
If you're ready to take the party outside, choose a few of our favorite grilled appetizer recipes and fire up the grill!
Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Melon
Grilled Garlic Bread with Herb Butter
Start the party by making homemade garlic bread on the grill; ours features an aromatic parsley-herb butter. Kids and adults alike will devour it in a flash.
Grilled Lamb Meatballs with Salsa Verde
Grilled Oysters with Compound Brown Butter
We're all about shucking and shooting raw oysters on the half shell during summer, but they're also delicious when grilled and served with a nutty butter sauce packed with fresh herbs.
Grilled Peas with Toasted Coconut
Grilled Vegetables and White-Bean Fattoush
Choose your own adventure with this colorful grilled appetizer. We grilled an assortment of bell peppers and onions, but you can use any vegetables that you please; serve them alongside a simple escarole salad, herby white beans, crumbled feta cheese, and pita bread.
Grilled Artichoke, Green Garlic, and Goat Cheese Bruschetta
Grilled Kofta Kebabs
Grilled Bread and Chiles with Burrata
Smoky, charred bread with an assortment of grilled chiles and sweet peppers is perfectly complemented by the soft, creamy cheese. This is an appetizer sure to make mouths water.
An antipasto platter combining grilled and non-grilled elements is a winning way to start a party. The grilled eggplants and squashes get a sweet-and-sour marinade full of plump raisins and briny capers. They can even be prepped the day before if you like, which means all that's left to do is toast some crusty Italian bread and arrange them on the platter with cheeses and cured meats.
Grilled Tomato Bruschetta
This recipe has only one ingredient: clams. The shells are placed directly on the grates of the grill to steam open under the grill lid. Their natural juices are the only flavorings required. Place clams in a pot or bowl for serving, discarding any unopened ones.
Padron Peppers Skewered with Chorizo
Take tapas to the grill with these skewers of smoky chorizo and spicy peppers.
Grilled Shrimp and Bacon with Lemons
Everything in this dish is grilled, including the lemon slices, which you can treat as a garnish or nibble on with the shrimp. Grilling the shrimp in their shells helps them retain their flavor and keeps them from being overcooked.
Grilled Italian Sausages and Tomatoes on Focaccia
Chicken Satay with Peanut-Chutney Sauce
Kielbasa Bites with Grainy-Mustard Potato Salad
Grilled Scallops Wrapped in Prosciutto
It only takes a few ingredients—thin slices of salty prosciutto, delicate scallops, olive oil, and lemon—to make these quick-cooking skewers that are an elegant starter to or an easy addition to any grilled menu.